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Think Twice Before Drafting Peyton Manning

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By Andrew Porter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –I get it. The man threw for 4,659 yards, 37 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions during the 2012 fantasy football season. In standard scoring leagues, Manning was the fifth best fantasy QB (behind Brees, Rodgers, Brady, and Newton in that order) in 2012, and his team added Wes Welker to play wide receiver. Year after year, Manning has been one of the most consistent fantasy football players in the NFL. So why wouldn’t I want Peyton Manning on my fantasy team?

Well, there are a couple of reasons.

First, he’s a 37 year old quarterback who has a history of neck surgeries. That alone scares me.

Second,, and more notably, Manning’s ADP (average draft position) is 15.2 according to ESPN.com and he is the number three ranked quarterback (behind Rodgers and Brees). If you want Manning, he won’t be cheap.

My preferred draft strategy is a value-based draft strategy, where basically you are valuing players based on how much better that player is compared to other players at his position. Quarterback, this year, is the deepest position in fantasy football.

For example, Peyton Manning who is going somewhere in the second round in most leagues, averaged 19 fantasy points per week in 2012. Tony Romo, conversely who has an ADP of 77.9 and is the 12th ranked QB according to ESPN.com, averaged 16.9 fantasy points per week in 2012 and only scored a total of 33 less fantasy points than Manning. Romo, who will be drafted around the 7th, maybe 8th, round in most leagues, is a way better value pick.

You don’t like Romo? Fine. Guys like Matthew Stafford (58.5 – ADP), Russell Wilson (62.7), Andrew Luck (68.2), and Andy Dalton (127.3) are all in the same ballpark in terms of fantasy production. Pick one of those guys instead.

In a year where the quarterback position is so deep, and the tight end and running back positions are so thin, I won’t be drafting (or bidding) on Manning this year. The guy isn’t superman. At 37, he is bound to drop off at some point (see: Favre, Brett) and I don’t want to be his fantasy owner during that drop-off season, whenever that may be.

Also, the drop off at another position you will suffer as a result of drafting Manning in the second round, will be far greater than the drop-off between, say Tony Romo and Peyton Manning.

While it is certainly possible, and arguably likely, Manning duplicates his 2012 season and is a top-5 fantasy QB, his downside and cost, for me, isn’t worth the second-round selection. The idea of Manning being “risk-free” is simply not true.

Andrew Porter is the Audio Roadshow Coordinator for SportsRadio WIP, editor and writer for The School Philly, and a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly. You can follow him on Twitter @And_Porter.

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